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Community of Practice SANDI Training Center: Conference Presentations

2023 Nevada Mining Association Annual Convention

September 6-9, 2023

Developing the Workforce of the Future

Thursday, September 7, 2023

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Emerald Bay A-B


Governor’s Office of Economic Development Project SANDI

 One-minute overview of the session’s key questions and insights.

(See the full presentation below)


Visualizing the World of Work because there is Dignity in Work


Moderator: Dale Erquiaga, Former Acting Chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education

Tammy Westergard, Senior Workforce Development Leader / Project SANDI, Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development

Sam Spearing Workforce Development and Mining Center of Excellence, Great Basin College

Jason Bubba, CEO, NORCAT

Bringing immersive technology to today’s labor crisis, a panel discussion of workforce professionals specializing in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) virtual reality and other cutting-edge simulation tools. At a labor force participation rate of 60.7%, Nevada ranks 34th in the nation. Join subject matter experts for a session about developing the workforce in Nevada and learning about community-led efforts to reskill and upskill Nevadans through the distributed network of Nevada’s public libraries using immersive educational technology. Nevada System of Higher Education’s Acting Chancellor, Dale Erquiaga, moderates a compelling discussion with former State Librarian Tammy Westergard from the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development coordinating Project SANDI; Dr. Anthony “Sam” Spearing, Executive Director of the proposed Mining Center of Excellence and Workforce Development at Great Basin College and Jason Bubba Chief Operating Officer from NORCAT which offers skilled labor training and development and mining technology and innovation. 

The guiding question for the session is: How can we help develop the workforce in an age of automation?


Presentation Materials 

 Full Presentation Recording: Feel the Learn 

Run time: 35 Minutes

Individual Career Map Handout

At the close of the session, smiles from the panel and moderator.

L- R: Tammy Westergard, Jason Bubba, Dale Erquiaga, Sam Spearing

After intense and thorough demos, the team pauses for a picture.  

L- R: Leonard LaFrance, NCLab, Michelle Rebaleati, Project SANDI, Elia Keating-McEllistrem, Project SANDI, Tammy Westergard, Project SANDI and Mark Andersen, Lifeliqe.

In a lively moment during the panel discussion.

L- R: Jason Bubba, NORCAT, Tammy Westergard, Project SANDI, and Sam Spearing, Great Basin College.

On the big screen and in the goggles. 

Elia Keating-McEllistrem, Project SANDI, demos virtual reality with a convention participant, while Michelle Rebaleati, Project SANDI, screencasts in the background.

Notes on why this works like real life!

Left NVMA conventioneer with Mark Andersen from Lifeliqe